Home Care Tips: Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Home Care in Okemos MI

Home Care in Okemos MIApproximately 250,000 women throughout the world will receive a diagnosis of ovarian cancer each year. More than 140,000 will lose their lives to this disease. May 8 is World Ovarian Cancer Day, the ideal time for you to make raising awareness of this most serious of gynecological cancers and understanding the potential for it a part of your home care journey with your aging mother.

As with most other types of cancer, early detection of the disease is key to successful treatment and maximum survival expectancy. Getting a diagnosis early enough in the disease makes it most likely that your parent will get what is known as a "localized" diagnosis. This is a diagnosis of the cancer when it is still contained within its primary site and has not spread to any other part of the body. Though only 15 percent of cases of ovarian cancer are localized, this type has an approximately 93 percent five-year survival rate.

There are two main reasons why women tend to receive diagnoses of ovarian cancer at later stages. These include the fact that the most common gynecological test, the Pap smear, does not test for ovarian cancer and will not show any indications of the cancer. The second is that the symptoms tend to be vague and not readily linked to cancer. This means that many women do not notice the symptoms or consider them to be anything serious. Even if they do notice them, they may assume that they are caused by something less serious. This makes it vital that you understand the most common early signs and symptoms of the disease so that you recognize them if they do occur.

Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Increased abdominal size
  • Persistent bloating. Most bloating appears and disappears, but this type of bloating appears and only worsens
  • Pelvic pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Urgent need to empty the bladder
  • Frequent need to empty the bladder
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Fatigue
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Unexpected weight gain, particularly around the abdomen

It is important to remember that screenings for ovarian cancer are not something that are done routinely. The reality is that while screenings for the cancer do exist, they are fairly invasive and have not been shown to significantly reduce the number of deaths associated with ovarian cancer. If your elderly parent is at risk of ovarian cancer, talk to her doctor about your concerns and any specific symptoms that you might have noticed. The doctor may make a recommendation of a certain test or screening that can help to identify the cancer at an earlier stage. The doctor may also make a recommendation of genetic counseling to get a better idea of your parent's risk for developing the disease. The earlier that your parent receives her diagnosis, the more likely she is to be able to start a course of treatment and management that is right for her needs.




If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Okemos, MI, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Lansing. Call today: 517-332-9953.